ROCHESTER, Minn. - As the City of Rochester prepares to cut its budget by nearly $100 million, officials are carving out funds to hire the city's first-ever Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.
The new position will be created after a report from the Intercultural Cities (Commission) found Rochester is falling short when it comes to diverse representation in City Hall.
Many officials took the report as a call to action, but critics have questioned whether now is the right time to make this addition to the city government.
Rochester Mayor Kim Norton says city leaders are willing to accept budget cuts in order to ensure adequate representation for every local community.
"All of the departments are tightening their belt, that's true, and we knew that was going to come as a result of the pandemic," Norton said. "But we also committed to having a first-class city, an international city, America's city for health, and the only way we can do that is if we're a welcoming, compassionate, and caring community for the visitors and people who live here."
Rochester City Council has yet to formally adopt the proposed budget which would provide the funding necessary to hire this new director. If council members do approve the budget, officials hope to fill the position before the end of this year.